Friday, May 18, 2007

Wolfowitz hands in resignation over pay rise dispute (Earth Times)

By Jayesh P. Yadav

WASHINGTON - World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has resigned even as the Bank's 24-member board was looking to find ways to give him a possible 'easy' way out. Wolfowitz was forced to resign after it emerged that he played a central role in the pay package handed to his girlfriend Shaha Riza.

The former US deputy defence secretary had refused to resign until the board forced him to. However with the White House withdrawing support, it appeared a foregone conclusion that he would have to go. The 63-year-old Wolfowitz said in a statement that it was time for the Bank to move forward.

"The poorest people of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, deserve the very best we can deliver," he said. "Now it is necessary to find a way to move forward. I have concluded that it is in the best interests of those whom this institution serves for that mission to be carried forward under new leadership."

The board said Wolfowitz would resign on June 30. It added in a statement that the President felt he had acted ethically in the matter.

“He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution and we accept that,” the board said.

The hunt for the next President has already begun. Traditionally an American has headed the World Bank, but speculation that outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair could be invited is also doing rounds.

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